Remember how many times Dana White has scoffed at the question about Strikeforce being competition? We're about to confirm that the man was fibbing a bit. Showtime has pissed him off and CBS to a certain extent. It all started with the signing of Fedor Emelianenko and then Dan Henderson. Now White appears to be bringing out the big guns. Counter-progamming is one thing. A Spike UFC card across from a CBS Strikeforce card will severely damage the smaller promotion's efforts to get things up and running. Now it looks like White is sending in the ground troops. The UFC is on the verge of locking down a fight card the same night in THE SAME CITY!
The James Toney fight, a freakshow? There was a method to the madness. It looks like the UFC is working on an Apr. 17 card with Toney as one of the featured fighters against Kimbo Slice at Vanderbilt Arena. Meanwhile, across town at Bridgestone Arena, Strikeforce/CBS for now is staying on the same date with its Dan Henderson-Jake Shields card.
UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports' Dave Meltzer confirms Ultimate Fight Night 22 will be on Apr,. 17 in Nashville. There are two sites under consideration. White is working on Kimbo v. Toney.
"CBS had an opportunity to do the fight on [April 24] and go after the WEC pay-per-view date, and they said, 'No, let's just do it on the [April 17] and be nice guys,'" Coker told MMAjunkie.com. "Now that the counter-programming is coming their way, I think there is some fluidity in what could happen. It hasn't been decided yet. I think we're meeting probably Monday, but for now, everything is going to be locked and loaded for the 17th."
The Strikeforce card will feature Henderson-Shields, Shinya Aoki-Gilbert Melendez and Mo Lawal-Gegard Mousasi. The UFC card could also feature Wanderlei Silva against Yoshihiro Akiyama. Mike Swick in a roundabout way confirmed that there is going to be a 4/17 UFC card by tweeting he can't fight Matt Serra on that day. There's also whispers from Toney's side that April is indeed the target time for his first UFC fight.
Strikeforce/CBS also has the option of moving its card back one week. In that scenario it will go head-to-head with Zuffa's WEC 48 pay-per-view card.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker suggests he was trying to show some class in the first place by placing the CBS card on Apr. 17.
"Moving to April 24th will be discussed,” said Coker. "That was the first date CBS wanted the show. [CBS vice president] Kelly Kahl wanted to take the high road and avoid going against their pay-per-view."
Nashville! Nashville of all places has become the official battleground of MMA!